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Words. Wisdom. Winners.

What is your success?

Your salary is not your only success.
Your happiness is as well.

Your marks are not your only success.
Your learning is as well.

Your designation is not your only success.
YOUR description of your designation is as well.

The world will make us believe a fake definition of success.
Not falling for it is the biggest success!

Your job is not the most important thing

If you died, your manager would put out a job posting in 48hrs looking for a replacement. 

Your friends and family will never get that chance. 

As much as your job is necessary, do not ignore the relationships where you remain irreplaceable.

The stars we grew up with

Matthew Perry’s death brought back so many memories from 20 years ago.

My first year as a student in the US was tough. 

New country, new culture, my first time outside of home.
And no friends. 

Until my roommate introduced me to FRIENDS. 

In my first year, I watched every episode of every season several times.
I resonated the most with Chandler’s sarcastic humour and Monica’s catalogued approach to life while secretly wishing I could be the no-f-given Phoebe. 

In my second year, I moved out and got a new roommate.
Sameer was fun, kind, helpful, and smart.
He loved FRIENDS too. 

We bonded beautifully.
And the bond would blossom every Thursday, when a new episode of FRIENDS would air. 

Our routine was buying a frozen $1.99 cheese pizza from the supermarket, sautéeing onions and capsicums as toppings, and having it with orange juice concentrate + water. 

It was the last season of FRIENDS.
It was also the year I decided to drop out of my program and return to India. 

As I was mentally preparing to leave the US, our fictional friends were also moving on. 

As I sat at the airport listening to my playlist on shuffle, one of my favourite songs from the time began to play.
“I’ll be there for you” by the Rembrandts (the theme song of FRIENDS).

I broke down. 

I was saying goodbye to a life-altering time in the US and starting all over again.
I was saying goodbye to a dear friend.
And I was saying goodbye to FRIENDS with Sameer. 

“Am I actually feeling bad about a fictional television series?”

Yes, I was.
Because this series was my companion when I had none.

I could never get myself to watch the final episode.
I haven’t seen it till date.
It’s stupid, I know. 

FRIENDS gave me company, hope, and solace.
It gave me Sameer’s friendship for life.
But what it gave me the most was the best friendship ever.
The one I built with myself. 

You almost think that the stars you grew up watching don’t age. 

Until the day you realise that the character was immortal.
But they weren’t. 

Rest in peace.

Thank you for all the memories ??

Are you emotionally intelligent?

Emotionally intelligent people allow themselves their bad days, their hard moments, their tough admissions. 

And they give themselves the space to experience them all. 

Knowing that this too shall pass. 

As will the good ones as well.

Lifestyle change

Since the past year, I have made some significant lifestyle changes:

1. Intermittent fasting for 18 hours (been doing it for 8+ months now). 

I have 2 meals a day – 11am and 4:30pm with one fruit snack in between. 

I feel light, energetic, sleep extremely well and end up consuming less than 1600 calories – because how much can one eat in 6 hours. 

No loss of energy at all. 

2. High protein diet 

Tempeh, paneer, soya, dal, egg white, whey protein – a combination of these everyday adding up to 130-140gms of protein. 

While I have been working out everyday for the past 10 years, these 2 elements were missing. 

I used to eat 3 meals a day (last meal at 6:30, first at 9am) with 2 snacks in between. 

And the diet used to be high carb and medium protein. 

This diet change has made my workouts extremely effective and the results are showing. 

As I said – this is now for life! 

Loving it ????

Keep hope alive

“Who is going to give me a job at 56 years of age?”

When your father asks you this, you feel nothing but helpless. 

For the past decade, he had a string of professional failures.
He had attempted to start his own business 7 years back.
Piled up massive losses and debt.

2010.

I quit my consulting job the previous year to become a startup founder.
So I decided to help him with the little I knew.
Search Engine Optimization!

I asked Papa if he was ready to do work that looked like physical labour, with no intellectual effort required.
I don’t think he felt he had a choice.
“Let’s try”, he said.

So I set up a website – Top Jobs in India.
The job market was one of the biggest advertising segments for newspapers.
It was a matter of time for online to follow.

I told Papa my plan:

We would start a job site.
As a blog.
Make the blog rank high on Google search results.
And if it did, the ads displayed on the blog would fetch us clicks.
And hopefully money.

“Where will these jobs come from?” he asked.
“The newspaper.”
“We will copy?”
“Yes – we will copy the exact job posting in a newspaper onto a blog.”
“Nandu, you have lost your mind. How can this possibly work?”
“Only one way to find out, Papa.”

I gave him a target.
10 job posts a day.
For a 56-year old typing with one finger, it took him 3-4 hours.
But to his credit, he did that.
EVERYDAY.

Without asking me once if it was working.

The blog was optimised well, and started to rank for long-tail keywords.

After a month, I started the ad spots using Google Adsense.

Every week, Papa and I would sit down and I would show him the Google Analytics dashboard.

I think he believed every number, except the revenue.
Because all he could see was some USD number – nothing had translated into actual money.

Until April 2011.
We received a letter from Google (there were no bank transfers back then).
A cheque of USD 101.27.

After 5 months of copy pasting 10+ jobs everyday, he had earned Rs. 5,000!

The amount did not matter.
The fact that he could do this mattered!
He was hopeful again.

Over the course of the next 1.5 years, we went on to start 2 more websites:
– Top Study Options
– Best Job Options

The monthly payout kept rising, peaking to $1,200 in Jan 2012.

The party ended in April 2012 when Google released the Penguin update to its algorithm, bringing down all 3 sites to 10% of their traffic.

In the 2 years that Papa worked on these sites, he made $17,000+ = Rs. 9L+
More than he had ever earned!

More importantly, what he gained was his confidence.

“I want to work for some more time before I retire,” he said.

Coming full circle, he applied to a job that he had copied and posted on the blog.
He got the job!

At the age of 58, he changed industries – from Pharma sales to Office administration.
Worked for 4 years, before formally retiring in 2016.

Every time you find a door closing, remind yourself that the door will open again.

10 million followers!

Last week, we hit 10M cumulative followers across social media platforms!

What’s fascinating is that exactly 3 years back, in Oct 2020, we hit 1M cumulative followers; a bulk of which (800K) came from LinkedIn itself. 

5 highlights that I’m proudest of, during this journey:

  1. Financial outcome

We launched this business in Feb 2020.
In just 3.5 years, we’ve achieved consistent growth and profitability since Day 1.

  1. Making an impact

Over the past 3.5 years, our content has reached 93M+ people.
The majority (80%+) is between the ages of 18-30 and located in India. 

Our courses have over 372,000 paid students, with our enrollment growing by 8-10K students each month.

  1. Brand collaborations

We’ve partnered with 147 brands, including Google, Adobe, Amazon, and Microsoft for talks, endorsements, events, and advertising. 

A list that makes me pinch myself everyday!

  1. Team

We’ve distributed 1.75Cr ($219K) in profit sharing over the years. 

Zero voluntary attrition. 

Together, we’ve explored Rishikesh, Pondicherry, Kerala, Kashmir, Udaipur, Mumbai, Goa, and Uttarakhand (with Thailand up next).
Love is in the air :))

  1. Contribution

We’ve supported 194 students, covering their school and college fees totaling 1.06Cr ($135K). 

This represents 100% of one of our income streams (affiliate income). 

All of this has been done through our company balance sheet; no separate entity involved.

Here’s my belief: If I can do it, so can you. 

There’s nothing that makes me special or different from you.
I’m not the smartest or hardest working person around. 

What I’ve consistently done is bet on the one thing I have control over.
Myself! 

Thank you for your support and feedback all through.

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